129 weeks and 5 days | Cherish the Ordinary

This weekend something happened.

One of my school friends — a girl who had been one of my very best friends in the 6th form — died.

42 years old. Vibrant, funny, beautiful. A wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend.

Gone. Just like that.

She’d been bravely battling cancer for months; I found out in January and she told me she’d been undergoing treatment since October last year. We haven’t seen each other for years but always kept in touch and messaged occasionally over Facebook and with written letters and cards. Particularly over these last few months.

Words of positivity and hope (her) and encouragement and support (me).

It’s so dreadfully sad. I cried buckets on Friday night; for her, her husband, her children.

Cherish the ordinary.

This is the second, relatively young, person I know to have lost their lives to cancer this year. Their journeys were totally different but the outcomes, tragically, the same.

Another similarity I noted was that, once these two people found out about their illnesses, nothing was the same from that point on and their decline was relatively rapid.

‘Normal’ life went out the window and was replaced by an ominous merry-go-round of tests, consultant’s appointments, days in hospital, weeks in a hospice.

And it struck me that our lives can change, literally, in a heartbeat. Something may happen to spin us off the path we’re treading and our lives can alter dramatically. I’m not just talking about illness but a change in circumstance; redundancy, divorce — war even.

cherish the ordinary

Ordinary life is something to be cherished and revered.

Simple everyday things — walking to post a letter, the big supermarket shop, cleaning, mowing the lawn, fixing a picture frame — may seem mundane but, no doubt, if the ability to do those things was taken away we’d give anything to have it all back.

Exactly as it once was.

There are so many folk striving for something better, something different — extraordinary even. Thrill seekers, adventurers, people who are just not content with their lot and are tempted by the mirage of lush, green grass on the other side.

And, in their determination to alter their lives, they may be missing out on some of the most perfect, beautiful moments. Ordinary doesn’t necessarily mean boring. Ordinary can be the most amazing times of our lives.

‘Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.’


William Martin

In memory of my beautiful friend Jenni Brindley-Pye who sadly passed away on Friday. Rest in peace lovely girl. You may have gone but you’ll never be forgotten.


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About Caro Davies

Caro Davies art directed fashion and interiors before leaving the world of design to pursue a career in social media. She can now be found chasing the light — and two small twin boys.

138 thoughts on “129 weeks and 5 days | Cherish the Ordinary

  1. Thanks for sharing this post on Jenni’s Facebook wall. My name is Helen (Jenni called me Hch) and she was one of my closest friends, probably the closest, from the age of 16 to 23, when I moved away to Bath to work as a journalist, then Hong Kong, where I now live. Sadly, we lost touch and I last saw Jenni in 2012 on a trip back to the UK. I really regret not making the time to see her when I went back to UK in April. I knew Jen was ill but had no idea it was so serious. I emailed her to tell her I was pregnant and moving back to the UK mid-August, and she congratulated me. That was the last I heard from Jen. I wrote her a letter, which her family was reading to her, just before she passed. It was mostly about all the fun we had – boozy trips to Greece, nights out at Ritzy in newcastle drinking snakebite and black with our friends Rob and Rob, and a working holiday in Cornwall when we had to return early after we broke the car window! Jenni broke the heart of many of bloke along the way! I feel privileged to have had my letter read out, even though it’s slightly embarrassing as her family was there(!). Your blog also struck a chord with me as, like you, I went through ivf after 3 years of trying and now have a beautiful son with another baby on the way in February. Congratulations on your twins, they are beautiful! & congrats on your fab blog, too. I will be raising a glass to Jenni today at 1.30 for her funeral as I sadly can’t be there living so far away x

    1. Ohmygoodness H — I remember Jen speaking about you!! I’m so sorry you didn’t get to spend more time with her at the end. It’s so, so sad isn’t it?
      I am angry with myself for not going to see her too — but she really toned down how ill she was. She was always SO positive that I genuinely thought she was going to get better. It didn’t occur to me for a single second that she wasn’t going to pull through. I cannot believe she’s gone.

      I feel really weird about it all. She was one of my very best friends in 6th form — and afterwards — until I went to uni when I was 22. I simply can’t believe that my beautiful funny friend is no longer around.

      I was all set to go to the funeral today but one of the twins is poorly. I’ll be raising a glass to her today too and she — and her family — will be in my thoughts.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to write to me. Please keep in touch and let me know when your new addition arrives. Good luck with everything xx

  2. I’m so sorry about Jenni’s passing. There’s a quote that I think speaks your point perfectly: “Happiness isn’t having what you want. It’s about wanting what you have.” Thanks for all things #TwinklyTuesday.

  3. So sorry to hear about Jenni, your friend. Cancer is the destroyer of lives, both for those with it and those left behind. I have lost too too many loved ones and some at young ages also to this terrible disease. You are totally right we really should value the ordinary, instead of always striving for ‘the next best thing’ x

  4. Caro, I am so sorry to hear of your friend passing away. Her poor family! But you are absolutely right. We need reminding every now and again to focus on what is going on now and enjoy life’s mundane hum drum while we can.
    Thinking of you x

  5. Oh Caro, I am so sorry to hear about your friend Jenni. I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Cancer is the most hideous and destroying disease. It rips families apart and as you say, lives are never the same again. I would do anything to eradicate cancer from the world. It takes too many people, too soon. This is a beautiful post and it is so important to appreciate the ordinary. Every moment in life is precious and should be cherished. Because you don’t know how or when those mundane moments maybe snatched away from you. Hugs Mrs H xxxx

  6. Oh Caro I’m so sorry for your loss. Your friend sounds like a beautiful person, who’ll be greatly missed. Life can be so unfair at times and you’re right we all need to be aware that we are the lucky ones and make the most of every day. Sending you all my love and support hon xxx

    Thanks for hosting #TwinklyTuesday x

  7. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss.
    You are right, we really do need to stop taking the little things for granted and start appreciating more. It is just sad that it usually takes a death or disaster for us to realise this.


  8. So sorry to hear about your friend but at least you have taken a positive from your friends death and appreciate the small stuff X

  9. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. I think when something like this happens, it really makes us think about our own mortality. Suddenly, the things we are stressing out over seem less important, and we are more thankful for the things we do have. RIP Jenni
    Thanks for hosting #TwinklyTuesday

  10. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. Cancer truly sucks and I hope one day we can find a cure because little ones need their Mums, husbands needs their wives and friends need their friends, you know? Beautiful post hun xx

  11. So sorry for the loss of your friend – so sad. It has prompted me to pick up the phone and call my house mate from uni. In the chaos of life we haven’t spoken in so long – thank you!

  12. So sorry to hear about your friend :( puts things into perspective eh? We definitely fans of the ordinary moments…it just seems everyone shares and strives for the unordinary… Chin up sweets x Thanks for hosting #TwinkyTuesday

  13. Caro I am so sorry about the loss of her friend, her poor family it is so tragic. This is such a beautiful post and you are so right. Embrace the simple things, frill are lovely but what is important is family and friends, walking in the rain, kicking leaves and playing in the snow, money cant buy these moments they are priceless xx

  14. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss.

    You are 100% right. One of the greatest things I’ve learnt since experiencing mental health issues is that appreciation of the ordinary and being happy in the present moment with small joys is the real key to a happy life.


  15. Such a lovely post. It’s so true, we have to cherish the ordinary, the simple things in life are the best. So sorry to hear about your friend, so heart breaking.

  16. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend, you have written such a beautiful post in her honour though. Everything you said is just right we should cherish every moment because it can all change in a second.
    #TwinklyTuesday x

  17. You write so beautifully. :'( I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend and so sorry for the family who lost so much. Your quote from William Martin is fitting, I am sure she loves it. :)

  18. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend, you have written such a beautiful post in her honour though. Everything you said is just right we should cherish every moment because it can all change in a second.
    #TwinklyTuesday x

  19. Oh I’m so sorry to hear this, we lost a good friend to Cancer a year ago next week, he was only 31, its a devestating illness and you’re right we should cherish everyday without fail x

  20. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. I have tears in my eyes. Not just because of what you have written but by how you have written it. You have reminded me that I am blessed in a way others can only dream of. Thank you for the reality check. #twinklytuesday

  21. As I said to you last night, I am so sorry to hear about your friend lovely lady. She sounds so wonderful and like she fought to the end, stayed positive to the end and it’s so lovely that you have a little tribute to her on this page. It is so unfair when people die so young. Sending you all my love and thanks as always for all you do at #TwinklyTuesday

  22. Beautiful post. And so sorry to hear about your friend. 42 is so young to be taken from this world. It is so true that we should embrace the ordinary more. I have learned to embrace every year I get older for some don’t get to. Thank you so much for hosting #TwinklyTuesday and hugs to you and those left behind from your dear friend Jenni.

  23. I’m so so sorry to hear about Jenni. My best friend recently lost her dad and it’s something I’m trying to support her through having lost my dad when I was 17. Your words are inspiring & very wise. Thanks for hosting #twinklytuesday

  24. I am sorry to hear about your friend, I hope her family find solace that she’s in peace. That poem is absolutely wonderful – it encapsulates so much of how I feel about life, and in particular how I want my children to grow. Thank you for sharing this. Beautiful writing, Caro xx

  25. What a dreadfully sad story. I feel for you. You are quite right though, it is very easy in our busy lives not to cherish the ordinary and to forget how lucky we are and can b. #twinklytuesday

  26. Really sorry for your loss. I couldn’t agree more and I love that quote and have used it myself in a post. Great minds… It is the ordinary moments that make life special and I have learned to appreciate that more this year having had 2 health scares and 1 scooter accident! Great post! #twinklytuesday

  27. I’m sorry to hear about your friend it makes the tragedy even worse when those taken are young and with children. You’ve written a beautiful post and I agree with you we should make the most of the everyday things and enjoy what we have. Sometimes teaching a child to be happy is more important than teaching them they need to grow up and have a big important career etc.

  28. Woah it feels like a powerful blow to the heart just hit me. I love that you are so open and honest with your feelings. I really love that quote too. #twinklytuesday

    1. I’m grateful to have somewhere to put my thoughts to be honest. I’d probably explode if I didn’t have somewhere to share them. Blogging is so good for that. I love the thought that there’s a little tribute to her, in the ether, too x

  29. Oh this is so sad and you are 100% right. We all need reminding sometimes how precious life is and to enjoy it to the best that we can as you never know how fleeting it is. I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend and my thoughts are with her poor family. Xx

  30. That is desperately sad and frightening. I’m terrified of something happening to me and not being around for my kids. I’m so sorry for your loss and her family #twinklytuesday

  31. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. It certainly puts things in perspective doesn’t it. Life is terribly short, and I do think it’s so very important to find joy in the every day and to appreciate moments as they happen. Easier said than done in the chaos. One of my oldest (as in long-standing!) friends has been having chemo over the last few months and has just had their last session. Watching him, and his family, has been sobering.

    1. Thanks so much Sara. It really does. I really, really hope that your friend comes through it — Jen wasn’t so lucky but I really hope that your friend manages to beat it. Thinking of him and saying a little prayer xx

  32. My Dad was only 59 when we lost him to cancer and it made me totally re-assess my life. That was 6 years ago and its easy to get absorbed back into old habits. This post made me cry because its beautifully written and reminded me of what is unquestionably true. It is very easy to stay focused on the destination all the time and forget about enjoying the journey. I find managing my family so challenging and am only just starting to enjoy hanging out with my children. Every moment should be precious (even the ones where you’re just holding their hand while they watch Fireman Sam) Sometimes it takes an awful event to remind you. #twinklytuesday

    1. Aaah bless you Helen, that’s so sad. I’m so sorry you lost your dad at such a young age. It’s dreadfully unfair. I hope as time goes on, you can begin to enjoy the journey with your own little family. Make each moment count xx

  33. So sorry to hear about your friend ♡ It’s such a shame that something like this has to happen in order for us to appreciate all the little things. It really puts things into perspective doesn’t it :-( I love all the points you make in this post about not taking anything for granted.

    (Stopping by from twinklytuesdays)

  34. What a beautiful tribute to your friend! I love this post. Gratitude for the little things is what makes life’s journey worth it. Sharing! Stopping by from Twinkly Tuesday.

  35. Oh I’m so sorry to hear about your friend, it’s such a young age to die at and to leave behind her family must be devastating for them :( Cancer is a cruel beast, it wiped out 3 members of the same family from my hubby’s side. Very sad indeed.

  36. I’m sorry for your loss. It sounds so inadequate, but … You’re right, you’ve got to cherish every moment and make the best of each one as you never know what’s round the corner. #twinklytuesday

  37. That is such a beautiful poem and so true. We need to take the time to appreciate every moment as it’s the simple things which makes up the fabric of our lives. I am sorry for your loss. Since losing my Dad in December everything feels so very different. I think it takes something so tragic and unfair for us to realise that it could all be over in an instant and we are often powerless to act. Thinking of you and your friend’s family too. X

  38. How sad- but your post has really inspired me to stop being such a grump and enjoy my wonderful life while I can. I’ll be thinking of your friend and her family today.

  39. How utterly beautiful and inspiring. My deepest sympathies to you and your friends family. My good teenager friend is undergoing chemo at the moment, it’s so sad that life as you say is just too precious to wish away. I’m certainly living for the moment right now. X #twinklytuesdays

  40. Really sorry to hear about your friend. You are completely right to say that we should appreciate the everyday. Although it sounds really cheesy, whenever I have a spare 5 minutes, I run through all the things I am happy about or thankful for each day- when you start you realise there are so many. x

  41. Sorry to hear about your friend. Sending you and her family lots of positive vibes. Also, thank you for the reminder to cherish the ordinary moments. #twinklytuesday

  42. Caro, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. None of us truly know what tomorrow will bring and one thing that being a heart mummy has taught me is to enjoy the moment, to embrace the mundane and love the ordinary. These moments are so very precious. Sending love and hugs your way and prayers for your friend’s family x

  43. I am so sorry to hear about your friend. Sadly it does make us realise how precious life really is. I love the quote at the end. Truly beautiful and so true. xx #TwinklyTuesday

  44. I’m so so sorry to hear about your lovely friend. Situations like that and in fact your blog post, reminds us that we are not invincible. It’s so easy to get caught up in ‘life’ but so important to sit back and live for the present x #twinklytuesday

  45. I am so sorry to hear of your friend’s passing, such a beautiful post to remember her by and to reflect on this quite ordinary and yet extraordinary thing we call ‘life’.
    Recently I found out that two of my old work and school friends have cancer (aged just 25 and 28) and it really hit me hard, making me take a moment to stop still and have a good hard look at how I was living. As you say, things can change in a heartbeat and would I really be ready for it? And be able to truly say that I was happy in that moment rather than striving for something more ‘excellent’? On the back of this news I have most certainly been living more in the present, in those beautiful perfect moments you mention. Cherish the ordinary is a perfect piece of advice x

  46. So sorry to hear about your friend, I’ve had a similar experience and it really does affect you when someone who’s the same age as you is gone so suddenly. As you say, we need to cherish the ordinary moments and be grateful for everything we have. Life is precious. Thanks for sharing #TwinklyTuesday

  47. Oh I’m so sorry. You are right though, you never know what is going to happen. Cherish every moment. Lots of love xxx #twinklytuesday

  48. I am so sorry for your lost.
    And yes, sames as you, I find myself realizing lately the importance of these ordinary moments, which end up to be the ones that create important and loving memories. Yes, these are the ones to be cherished and reveered. And so often are the ones we take for granted and sometimes forgotten. … x

  49. So sorry to hear of your loss. I seem to experiencing the very same here where three people I know have cancer in their 30’s and my mum is getting over it.
    You are so right to cherish the ordinary and not to keep striving for what we think will make us happy and lose sight of what we already have.I made this decision afew months back and I’m so much happier for it.
    Amazing post. Xx

  50. Im very sorry to hear about your friend. You are so right, life is a very friagile thing, and happiness should be taken and all things appreciated as often as possible. #TwinklyTuesday

  51. I’m so sorry for your loss but what a beautiful post to come from such a tragedy. A friend was recently given the all clear after undergoing chemo and the whole thing really made me think about how quickly everything can change. I think I’ll give my boys an extra tight hug.

    Thanks for hosting #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Thanks Nym. I’m so glad for my blog at times like these. All those words would have been spinning round my head — with nowhere to go — had I not got this little haven to go and write things down in. So cathartic.

  52. Sorry to hear about your lovely friend that is so sad. This is such a true post; you never know when life will change and the course just alter and you are right…making the most of everything is so important xx #twinklytuesday

  53. I was so sorry to read this on your Facebook time line on Saturday. I’m sorry you’ve lost such a love friend to this horrific disease once more.
    But I’m so glad that this lovely lady will never be forgotten. And you are completely right, the ordinary is what keeps us happy and sane. It’s the ordinary that makes me realise why, each and every day, I am so in love and am so happy.
    I’m sorry for the catalysts of this post, but it’s a post of gorgeous sentiment all the same.
    Much love darling xxx

  54. I am so very sorry to hear about your friend. I have had a similar experience recently. Like you say, ‘cherish the ordinary’ or even ‘carpe diem’ say it all. It is so easy for us with our busy lives to forget to stop, appreciate and be thankful for the everyday things that many of us are lucky enough to experience but possibly take for granted. I certainly have tried hard recently to view life in a different way. What could be better than tucking our children in bed or having a hug? That is such a beautiful and poignant poem. Sorry again for your loss xx

  55. I’m so sorry about Jenni. None of us know what is around the corner. You’re right, we need to cherish the ordinary. Last year I wrote a post about how growing up I wanted to be different – now, I’d give anything to be a ‘normal’ mum with my baby in my arms. Enjoy every day. Love xxx

    1. Thanks so much Leigh. I absolutely can’t believe she’s gone. She was such an amazing, vibrant personality. Things can change like the wind. We really do have to live in the moment don’t we? xxxx

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